Who Were the Moors in Ancient Times?

The Moors refer to the Muslim inhabitants of North Africa, Spain, and Portugal during the Middle Ages. They were a diverse group of people who had a significant impact on the culture and history of these regions.

Origins of the Moors

The term “Moors” originally referred to the Berber people of North Africa. However, over time, it came to encompass all Muslims living in the region. The Moors first appeared in history during the 8th century AD when they conquered Morocco and established a powerful kingdom.

The Islamic Conquest of Spain

In 711 AD, under the leadership of Tariq ibn Ziyad, an army of Moors crossed over from North Africa into Spain. They quickly defeated the Visigoths who ruled Spain at that time and established a Muslim kingdom called Al-Andalus.

Over time, Al-Andalus became one of the most advanced civilizations in Europe. The Moors brought with them new technologies such as irrigation systems and improved agricultural techniques. They also made significant contributions to art, literature, and science.

The Decline of Al-Andalus

Despite its many achievements, Al-Andalus began to decline in the 11th century AD due to internal conflicts and external pressures from Christian kingdoms such as Castile and Aragon. In 1492, after almost 800 years of Muslim rule, Granada fell to these Christian kingdoms, marking the end of Islamic presence in Spain.

The Legacy of the Moors

The Moors left an enduring legacy on Spain and Portugal. Their influence can be seen in architecture such as the Alhambra palace in Granada and Cordoba’s Great Mosque. They also introduced new agricultural techniques that transformed farming practices across Europe.

Moreover, their contributions to science were significant. Many famous scholars emerged from Al-Andalus, including Ibn Rushd (also known as Averroes), a philosopher and physician whose works influenced European thinkers during the Renaissance.


In conclusion, the Moors were a diverse group of people who made significant contributions to the culture and history of North Africa, Spain, and Portugal. Their legacy can still be seen in the architecture, art, literature, science, and technology of these regions. The Moors may no longer exist as a political entity, but their impact on world history is undeniable.